Falcon Football Defensive Review
Now to review the defense. The main thing that shows up--throughout the stats, is sameness. Our defense, in what I would contend is a spooky comparison, performed, to the numbers, almost exactly as it did the previous season. See here....
|Points per game||28.3||27.6|
|Yards Per Play||5.4||5.4|
|Yards Per Rush||4.1||4.1|
|Yards Per Pass Att||7.1||7.3|
|3rd Down Conv||40.7%||40.1%|
|4th Down Conv||35%||35%|
Have you ever seen anything like that? It boggles the mind. The main difference was that we gave up about 30 yards less per game, but the opposition also ran 11 fewer plays per game, so that accounts for the difference.
The only other major differences were that our completion % against was up to 63%, up from 58% last year, and turnovers/game were down from 2.4 last year to 1.6 this year.
Red Zone difference was much improved...scoring % fell from 85% to 74% and points per trip fell from 4.69 to 4.0.
Now, we noted in the offensive review that scoring is, by and large, down in the MAC, so you could, if you wanted, decide to argue that we did the same against poorer offenses. I guess. I think the point remains...the defense did about as well this year as last.
And that is...not that good.
Points allowed are at their highest in the B/M era, although that figure has been steadily rising since UM1.
If you want to see the "not that good" evidence, you need only look at how we did against our peers...in the MAC. You have to be careful in using per game numbers, because our opponents ran, by far, the fewest number of plays (714) We were:
- 11th in Scoring defense.
- 9th in Yards per catch
- 7th in yards per play allowed.
- 9th in creating turnovers.
- 10th in Comp%
- Tied for 7th in Yards per rush.
- 8th in passing eff against
- 9th in 3rd Down conversions
So, whether you think our defense stayed the same, or got worse, it doesn't really matter. Because compared to the MAC, our defensive performance continues to underhelm. In no way did we go out and turn in a performance that really changed games. Yes, there was the OU game. There was also the Kent game....you get the idea.
We were further assisted in that our two Big 10 opponents didn't really try to light it up against us, and we played one game in a mud pit. To be fair, our defense was saddled with some brutal field position due to many shanked, blocked, and otherwise botched punts and kickoffs.
Numbers and numbers. Here's the key, in my opinion. We were 4-8. For many years our offense disguised our defense by scoring at will. Last year, that was exposed. Maybe the high-flying attack will be back next year but I doubt it (though I think we can be better). I hope we see our young defense mature and contribute a little more...at least to the middle of the MAC, for the love of Mike.